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Old 12-11-2004, 11:56 AM
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PNG first in laparoscopic surgery

by Brian Tobia

Large, ugly, miserable looking scares derived from surgeries will be the thing of the past as surgery in Papua New Guinea advance to new heights with the introduction of the laparoscopic surgery.

This method involves carrying our operations through a small keyhole in a patient’s body using specialised surgical tools. All the surgery is performed from outside the body with the aid of a small camera lens that is inserted inside the body and a monitor compared to the usual method of opening up the skin to perform operations.

This follows the relocation of one of the world’s leading laparoscopic surgeon, Professor Sydney Chung from Hong Kong to Papua New Guinea as Professor of Surgery at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Papua New Guinea.

Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Mathias Sapuri and Acting Executive Dean of the School, Dr Andrew Masta said at the welcome reception hosted for Prof. Chung recently that PNG will be the first developing country in the Pacific to train and educate surgeons, students as well as those already working in hospitals to use this new surgical method to the benefit and satisfaction of patients.

The new method that is done only in developed countries and sometimes televised on the health programs on Discovery Channel will be increasingly practiced in PNG and other developing countries in the future with the help of Prof. Chung.

The move by Prof. Chung to come to a developing country like PNG surprised many experts in the field and his followers.
“But coming here is a big challenge for me. Expectations are greater and I will try to fulfil the huge task of introducing the new method of surgery in PNG, the Pacific and other neighbouring countries,” he said.
He performed one laprascopic surgery at the Port Moresby General Hospital since arriving here.

Prof. Chung has a vision to train and pass the new technology to surgeons and students at the Medical School and surgeons in hospitals throughout the country so that Papua New Guineans can have the benefit of receiving better health care.

He also has plans to ensure that the UPNG Medical School becomes a base for training of surgeons from other developing countries.
“We are overwhelmed with a large number enquiries from doctors in the Pacific and Indonesia and are working on a training program to facilitate for their training needs,” Prof. Chung said.

He will head the school’s Surgery Division that did not have a leader since the departure of Prof David Watters several years ago.
“Prof. Chung’s credentials go beyond UPNG’s expectations and we are very privileged to have him … people who know him are asking why he choose a developing country but the world’s loss is our gain and we will give him all the support in his endeavour.

“He will also be helping in the Problem-Based-Learning (PBL) program introduced in the school three years ago,” said Prof. Sapuri.
Prof. Chung said he had been to PNG several times on invitation and found that medical education here is better and the students are bright.
He said that this is the place he thought he could impart the skills on the new surgical method.

He said that some equipment already exists in the country but others would be required. A donation of specialised tools have been organised and will arrive in the country soon.


Prof. Chung (l) chatting with Prof Sapuri as Dr Masta looks on.
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